(L-R) Tees River Rescue co-founder James Ruddock, Canal and River Trust Mechanical and Electrical Technician Ian Telford, PCC Barry Coppinger, Canal and River Trust Team Leader Lee Butler and charity co-found Rob Lynas.
A new charity committed to protecting life and preventing crime in and around the River Tees has received a financial boost from the Police and Crime Commissioner to purchase their first boat.
Tees River Rescue was founded earlier this year by friends James Ruddock, Rob Lynas and Phill Brette to provide proactive public safety patrols along the 18-mile stretch of river.
The team are still making final preparations, but plan to respond to emergency call-outs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year once up and running.
As well as delivering a search and rescue provision, the charity will conduct routine river patrols to reduce antisocial behaviour, support river by-law compliance and challenge inappropriate behaviour on the river.
They have already hit the water in their new vessel and this week, Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger made a socially distanced visit to the Tees to see them in action.
Mr Coppinger said: “The River Tees is an integral feature of the Teesside landscape and one that deserves to be preserved and protected – as do the people who access it.
“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to help the team establish themselves. It is reassuring for residents of Teesside to know that in a short while, their river will have the same protection as cities like York.
“We are most effective in protecting communities and preventing crime when agencies work together and I’m confident Tees River Rescue will become an invaluable asset in this endeavour.”
Charity co-founder James Ruddock said: “We’re very grateful to the PCC for helping us get our venture off dry land by investing in the charity’s first boat.
“At the moment, the River Tees is not proactively patrolled and we want to support existing services to increase visibility and provide an extra pair of hands in emergency situations.
“We’re actively seeking sponsors and volunteers. I would encourage anyone interested to visit our website on www.teesriverrescue.org.uk”
Waterways and wellbeing charity Canal & River Trust manage the stretch of water that the boat will operate on and have waived mooring fees for the charity.
Sean McGinley, Director Yorkshire & North East at Canal & River Trust, said: “We are delighted to welcome the River Tees Rescue and would like to thank the volunteers and PCC for supporting the project.
“Our own resources cannot cover patrolling the river, so we are delighted to be working with Tees River Rescue who can be the eyes and ears on the waterway, and help keep the river safe for all users.”
Posted on Thursday 18th June 2020